I read about a site from Microsoft this afternoon called, and after trying it out, it’s pretty amazing.  I’m sure you’ve heard about software you can use to make a panoramic image from a series of photos.  Well this is an amped up version of that.

Basically you take a bunch of photos of your subject and upload them.  The tool automatically detects similarities in the photos and stitches them together.  but rather than producing a flat panoramic image, it creates a 3D rendering of the room.  Best of all, you can do the traditional approach of standing in a spot and taking pictures all around you, or you can take images surrounding an object to create a 3D version of it.  Imagine using that to show off a product for an ebay auction of e-commerce site!

Still confused?  Here’s Microsoft’s description from the Live Labs site:

Photosynth is a potent mixture of two independent breakthroughs: the ability to reconstruct the scene or object from a bunch of flat photographs, and the technology to bring that experience to virtually anyone over the Internet.

Using techniques from the field of computer vision, Photosynth examines images for similarities to each other and uses that information to estimate the shape of the subject and the vantage point the photos were taken from. With this information, we recreate the space and use it as a canvas to display and navigate through the photos.

Providing that experience requires viewing a LOT of data though—much more than you generally get at any one time by surfing someone’s photo album on the web. That’s where our Seadragon™ technology comes in: delivering just the pixels you need, exactly when you need them. It allows you to browse through dozens of 5, 10, or 100(!) megapixel photos effortlessly, without fiddling with a bunch of thumbnails and waiting around for everything to load.

Here’s one I whipped together of our conference room.  Yeah, our conference table is a pool table.  We’re so cool.  Like the art we made out of our old 15″ CRT monitors? 

Check it out for yourself.  Very cool software!


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